Semi-disposable sippy cups

You might be surprised to see EnviroBecca touting the virtues of anything disposable.  After all, I’m all about cloth diapers and hankies and reusable menstrual gear and real dishes even at picnics and just generally reusing everything!

Notice I said semi-disposable.  The sippy cups we prefer are lightweight polypropylene similar to those Gladware and Ziploc containers for storing leftovers–you can wash and reuse them for years, but they’re so inexpensive (<$1 each) that you can treat them as disposable when the situation warrants it: give them away along with the contents, give up on retrieving one that’s rolled under someone else’s parked car, or discard one after something goes moldy in it.  And when you do discard them, they’re recyclable!

Recent conversations have led me to realize that some parents are unaware of this affordable, convenient option in sippy cups, so here’s a picture to help you recognize them in your local drugstore, supermarket, or discount store, and here are some more reasons why they work for us:

  • They’re easier to clean.  Most of the expensive sippy cups have a valve and some interior grooves that are prone to mildew.  The semi-disposable type have a smooth interior and a one-part spout, and they’re transparent so you can see if there’s any gunk remaining.  If milk or juice gets stuck in the tiny holes of the spout, a 10-minute soak in hydrogen peroxide usually will remove it.
  • They don’t lead to breastfeeding problems (if used to give pumped milk to a baby who won’t take a bottle when away from mom) because the one-part spout with small holes requires more suction than a valved spout, so the baby doesn’t become a lazy sucker.
  • They don’t contain bisphenol A or vinyl, both of which were common in expensive sippy cups until recent publicity about the health risks.  Polypropylene (#5 plastic) has no known risks.
  • Because the lids snap on rather than screw on, the cup has a smooth rim that’s comfortable for your mouth if you want to drink without the lid.  Consequently, we often use these cups for the whole family when we’re away from home, putting on a sippy lid only when our 4-year-old requests one.  Only the keenest observer will notice that your solid-colored plastic cup has a widdle doggy with checkered ears embossed on it!
  • They’re really pretty durable.  We’ve bought a total of 12 in 4 years, and we’ve still got most of them.  They do get damaged if your child decides to chew on them.  Oh, and if a semi-disposable sippy cup is very full and is hurled with great force at a hard surface, it can explode like a bomb–we learned that the exciting way!
  • They’re so thin that they stack very nicely, so a large supply takes up only a small space in the cabinet.  It’s nice to have enough for all the guests at a toddler’s birthday party–and if you buy a pack with a variety of colors, you can mix cup and lid colors so that each child has a unique-looking cup.

The only bad thing I’ve heard about them is that some babies (particularly those who are bottle-fed) are unwilling or unable to suck hard enough to use this type of spout . . . but they generally outgrow that after a few months.

We never encouraged our kid to walk around with a sippy cup all the time (may be bad for dental development; might turn him into one of those adults who can’t survive without a bottle of water at all times) but they sure are handy for long car trips, picnics on uneven territory, and transporting beverages from place to place!

Our pets protect us from identity theft!

Here’s an idea that works for me this Earth Day:

We have two pet gerbils.  The conventional wisdom is that you’re supposed to give your gerbils lots of wood-chips to nest in (I always want to say, “to munk in,” but that’s chipmunks, isn’t it?) and you have to buy these wood-chips at the pet store.  But gerbils also need things to chew, to keep their teeth healthy and also apparently for entertainment, and you can give them paper and cardboard.

Simultaneously, we have documents we want to discard that include confidential information like bank account numbers.  The conventional wisdom is that you’re supposed to shred these with a noisy machine that could do serious damage to your hand, hair, or clothing if you get too close.  Read more…

Post comments here.

NOTE ADDED 2/24/2011: Over time, I’ve gradually opened more articles to comments, so this post is somewhat outdated–but feel free to post here with comments about The Earthling’s Handbook in general.

NOTE ADDED 10/16/2009: What’s going on here? The blog software tells me lots of people access this article (47 people in the past week, and that’s been about typical for the last few months), yet hardly anyone posts a comment. Are you trying but finding it too difficult? If you have tried to post a comment but couldn’t, please e-mail becca[at]earthlingshandbook[dot]org and tell me about it. And feel free to e-mail me if you like my articles but don’t want to comment publicly, too!

This is not a blog! It’s really not!  But I can’t stop wondering whether I have any regular readers outside my inner circle of friends and family.  I only rarely get e-mails from readers, which may mean those are the only readers, but then again it may not.  Also, I’ve never seen what the comment interface of this software looks like, and I’m curious.

Therefore, I decided to set up one post that’s open to comments.

If you are a regular reader, or if you’re here for the first time but have something to say, please comment here.  How did you find The Earthling’s Handbook?  What is your favorite article?  Are there any topics you’d like to see addressed here?

Pasta Prima Becca

It’s Works-for-Me Wednesday, and as I enjoy the leftovers of a meal made out of leftovers from my church’s Easter reception, I have to share this tip!

At the end of a party, usually there are some random vegetables lying around on the veggies-and-dip tray.  I have seen people throw these into the garbage!!!  What are they thinking?!  Yeah, the veggies may be kind of dried-out and limp and not so appealing for eating raw, but they’ll be just fine cooked in a soup, on a pizza, in an omelet, or whatever.

This Easter I took home enough leftover cut-up carrots, zucchini, red peppers, and mushrooms to make a full-sized batch of this recipe (named by a former housemate because of its resemblance to pasta primavera): Read more…

Growing a Gamer Geek

Daniel and I are gamer geeks. Our first memory of spending time together (we met gradually, both being members of a fairly large student organization) is a party where we played Nomic.  We started to hang out together more when I came to the game nights he and his housemates hosted. Attending a gigantic game convention is one of our default annual activities and sometimes our biggest vacation of the year. So, of course it’s important to us to raise a child who likes to play games! Read more…

When Kids Show Up at Your Demo

I wrote this article in 1999, when I was not yet a parent but was noticing that many adults I knew were very awkward when relating to children or actually tried to exclude children from fun activities rather than figure out how the kids could fit in.  I mentioned this to Kristin Looney, whose company makes games that are fun for both children and adults but focuses its marketing on adults, and she immediately appointed me to write an article for their Mad Lab Rabbits (the name used at that time for fans who promote the games) suggesting ways to appeal to kids when demonstrating the games at trade shows, in stores, at parties, or in public places where people stop to ask what you’re playing. Read more…

Come Here! Go Away!

My dad used to play this game with me when I was little, and now I play it with my son:

Place your child in a swing and stand in front of it.  Frown.  Say, “Go away!” and push the swing.

Now open your arms and smile.  Say, “Come here, Nicholas!” [or, for best results, substitute the actual name of your child] and look really eager to see him until he gets to you . . . Read more…